STOP the War on Children

March 1, 2010

Blowing Kisses and Giving Big Smooches!

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Blowing Kisses and Giving Big Smooches!

By Karen L. Gushta, Ph.D.

Last fall President Obama declared that September 28, 2009 should be observed as Family Day. He urged families to celebrate “with appropriate ceremonies and activities to honor and strengthen our Nation’s families.”

The president noted that “families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things.” And parents, he said, “bear significant stress and burdens to protect their children from harmful influences.”

What kinds of “harmful influences” did he have in mind? The president’s list included alcohol, tobacco, or prescription and illicit drugs, and other harmful behaviors which, he said, “can destroy the mind, body, and spirit of a child.”

Conspicuously absent were pornography, promiscuous sex and homosexuality–behaviors so devastating to the physical and emotional well-being of adolescents that those who promote them are waging a de facto war on children and youth.

Promiscuity, for example, carries severe consequences. A 2006 study showed that one in every four girls in public high schools in this country is infected with an STD. Approximately 12 million Americans contract STDs every year—nearly three percent of the entire population. What’s more significant, however, is the fact that of this group, 65 percent are younger than 25 years of age. Youth who become infected with STDs are less likely to seek immediate treatment, and therefore more susceptible to the long-term devastating health effects of these diseases, such as sterility, damage to the brain and heart, cervical cancer, and incurable genital warts.

And what is the president doing in the face of this? Rather than promote abstinence, which is the only sure way one can be protected from STDs, the Obama administration’s budget redirected funds from abstinence-only programs, such as Community-Based Abstinence Education and Title V Abstinence Education, to what are termed, “evidence-based and promising teen pregnancy prevention programs.”

But the “evidence” favors abstinence. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation reports that abstinence programs that include a virginity pledge “dramatically lower rates of teen births.” Abortion rates, teen sex, and out of-wedlock births all decrease among teens who have made such a pledge. Although not all teens keep their pledge, this form of abstinence education results in the “number of sexual partners down a third to a half, compared to kids from a similar socioeconomic background.”

What about pornography? Twenty percent of Internet porn involves children. Ninety percent have viewed it online—most while doing their homework. Homegrown pornography, aka sexting, is the latest moral virus to infect cell phones and young souls. Only 25 percent of 7th to 12th graders have a filter or parental controls on their computers, and only three percent of porn sites require adult verification before entering.

Since the Warren Court opened the floodgates of pornography in the late ’60s by a series of 34 unsigned per curiam decisions, social conservatives have attempted to get legislation passed to reign in the purveyors of porn who now freely post on the Internet.

Where does the Obama administration stand on this threat to children? One might say they are “in bed” with the pornography lobby, having appointed David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General. Ogden’s resume includes service for clients such as Penthouse and Playboy, amicus briefs defending child pornography in Knox v. United States and opposing the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000.

Finally, what about strengthening families by protecting the institution of marriage itself? In his Family Day proclamation, the president proclaimed that families of same-sex couples can also “encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things.” But research has shown that family configuration has significant impact on children’s well-being. And while there is still a limited amount of research on same-sex parenting outcomes, social science research is unequivocal in finding that children do best with a mother and father. An abundance of research also shows that children suffer in manifold ways when their home is fatherless or their parents divorce.

It’s clear who suffers when society tinkers with God’s structure for marriage of one man and one woman for the sake of social experimentation and a socially defined right to marry.

While the president gave one day to recognizing families, he declared the whole month of June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2009,” and affirmed his administration’s support for ensuring gay adoption rights and civil unions. He also inexplicably appointed Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), to be the “safe schools” czar at the Department of Education. When he was a teacher, Jennings failed to report a homosexual statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy. Jennings has praised pro-pedophile gay activist Harry Hay and promoted books detailing seductions of teen boys by older men. What’s more, GLSEN sponsored a forum in which 14-year-olds were told how to perform dangerous homosexual acts.

Unless Mr. Obama’s administration follows through with family friendly social policies that seek the best interests of children, his Family Day Proclamation smacks of little more than lip service. Blowing kisses at the family while giving big smooches to all things gay, shows where the president’s heart really is.

Karen L. Gushta, Ph.D., is a researcher at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children (Coral Ridge Ministries, 2009).

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